Join Bookshop Santa Cruz for a special discussion featuring Julia Reynolds, veteran local criminal justice reporter, and members of the Santa Cruz and Salinas community working for violence and gang prevention. With youth violence becoming such a pressing concern in our community and beyond, Julia Reynolds’ work examines the nature of the problem today and some very promising solutions. Since 2002, Julia Reynolds has been reporting on gangs and youth violence around Salinas for the Monterey Herald, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and elsewhere.
Salinas is home of Nuestra Familia, one of the most violent gangs in the United States. Born in the prisons of California in the late 1960s, Nuestra Familia expanded to control drug trafficking and extortion operations throughout the northern half of the state, and left a trail of bodies in its wake. Award-winning journalist Julia Reynolds tells the gang’s story from the inside out, following young men and women as they search for a new kind of family, quests that usually lead to murder and betrayal.
Blood in the Fields documents the history of Operation Black Widow, the FBI’s questionable decade-long effort to dismantle Nuestra Familia, along with its compromised informants and the turf wars it created with local law enforcement agencies. Reynolds uses her unprecedented access to gang members, both in and out of prison, as well as undercover wire taps, depositions, and court documents to weave a gripping, comprehensive history of this brutal criminal organization and the lives it destroyed.
Julia Reynolds is a reporter and editor who has done work for MediaNews newspapers, PBS, NPR, the Discovery Channel, The Nation, Mother Jones, the San Francisco Chronicle, 60 Minutes, and more. She has reported on gangs, crime and prisons, and co-produced the award-winning PBS documentary Nuestra Familia, Our Family, the work of 11 years of immersion in rural gang member’s lives. She was part of the team that created Frontline/WORLD’s much-heralded documentary Gun Runners. Previously, she was editor of the national Latino magazine el Andar. She is a Center for Conflict Studies Research Fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and was a 2009 Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a 2011 Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University. She has won awards from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, New California Media, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, The National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the World Affairs Council, and Investigative Reporters and Editors’ highest honor, the Tom Renner Medal.